Green Budget: Kickstart for Britain's artistic entrepreneurs

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The Independent Online
The Government's reputation as the "luvvies friend" was enhanced yesterday when it announced plans to do more to encourage creative industries such as design, fashion and music. The move follows tax measures announced in the July Budget to help the British film industry.

The Chancellor said these industries, together with others such as science, computer software and communications, represented Britain's "genius for creativity" which had made Britain "a world leader". Government and industry should work together to remove all barriers to productivity in these areas and to enhance growth and investment "not least for innovative small businesses" he said.

He added that this year entrepreneurs in small and medium sized businesses could draw on the Government's pounds 200m doubling of capital allowances to invest in new technology. From next year, the new National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts will make grants to encourage creative talents.

Plans to help hi-tech companies find backers and remove barriers to their growth were also announced as part of a wide-ranging attempt to improve Britain's poor record in research and development. The Chancellor said he was keen to make it easier for small businesses to gain access to venture capital funding, to create jobs and create a more entrepreneurial culture.

A working group has been established to examine the issue. It will be chaired by Keith McCullagh, chief executive of the pharmaceutical development company British Biotech, and address the barriers which stand in the way of young, growing hi-tech companies. The group will produce a final report in six months time with an interim report in January.

In July, the Government was cheered by the British film industry when it announced a 100 per cent tax write-off on production and acquisition costs for British films with a budget of pounds 15m or less.